Data Cable Provides Up-To-Date Technology to Snowplows

Posted on Fri, Feb 07, 2014

It’s the industry everyone has a love hate relationship with - snowplowing. “Is the snowplow coming by  soon?” or “I hope I don’t get stuck behind a snowplow on my commute today” has crossed the minds of many this year and every winter. You need them when you want them and you get frustrated when you find yourself stuck behind one. However, without them none of us would be able to commute anywhere.A yellow snowplow covered in snow from Dufferin County Emergency Management


This winter has proven detrimental conditions to the roadways in region of Dufferin County. During the last couple of weeks, there have been numerous car accidents, road closures, stranded motorists and even a declared state of emergency. We would have no escape if it weren’t for these snowplows and those who operate them. The specific routes each snowplow operator takes are very carefully planned to allow for snow removal in high traffic areas. But the routes aren’t the only strategic or technological operation these plows face on a daily basis.


The technology of snowplowing has evolved in the past couple years.


As we know, technology is ever changing and growing, and the snowplow industry is no exception. Snowplows are getting more and more advanced, newer snowplowing applications are heavily monitored, and there is now a computer inside them that can track and control the application of salt being applied on the roadways.


The tracking and controls include the speed that the spinner and conveyor are running at. With this information, the computer varies all these factors according to the truck’s speed, temperature and humidity. In some cases, it might add a water spray to activate the salt. Salt application is used when the temperatures outside are minus 12 degrees Celsius or higher, if it is colder, sand is spread instead to add traction to the roadways.


The computer uses a GPS to keep track of the time, position and salt application rate. This information would be used in the event of an accident investigation. With advanced technology, investigators can pull information from any given road or intersection, and would be able to know how much salt was put on the road and when. The computer also monitors if the plow was up or down at the time, making the investigations of car accidents more efficient.


As the driver is plowing the roads and spreading salt, the computer also monitors the hydraulics that operate the plow, which is controlled through a joystick. The driver operates the joystick, an advancement from years ago when they used a big lever that would do these same functions. One new and exciting development in this business is the introduction of a trailer with a plow mounted onto it. With this type of plow, the plow mounted on the trailer can be lowered to catch the snow being pushed beyond the passenger side of the plow.  This allows the plow to remove snow from two lanes of highway, without the use of another truck. The driver uses the joystick to operate this plow as well as steering the trailer behind the truck.  


Data Cable Inc. in Orangeville is proud to make and supply the wiring harnesses for the leaders in this industry. The wire harness connects the computer controller to the truck hydraulics to make it all work when the time is critical. The price for some of our wire harnesses range from $20 to $400, depending on the complexity of the cables.


As drivers, although we tend to get frustrated when stuck behind a snowplow, we have to remember that they are out clearing roads for all of our safety


*Photo provided by Rob Neilson, Roads Foreman for East Garafraxa, from Dufferin County Emergency Management.